Athens – These short takes are presented in tandem with the Georgia-Alabama game column, which can be found here. Georgia lost 38-10.
1. Mark Richt? Good coach. Nick Saban? Great coach. For the first time in 72 games, Saban’s team was an underdog. For the second time in seven years (and six days), Saban’s team was an underdog in Sanford Stadium. On Blackout Night 2008, Alabama led 31-0 after 30 minutes. On Rainy Day 2015, Alabama led 31-3 after 31 minutes and 53 seconds. Again, the great Saban prepared the Crimson Tide to offer a massive effort. “This was a difficult challenge,” he said. “We told our players that, with our plan, ordinary men couldn’t go out and get it done. We needed them to be extraordinary.” And the Bama men were: They scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams. Georgia scored one touchdown – that on an 83-yard run by Nick Chubb when the Bulldogs trailed 38-3.
2. Speaking of which: Saban referred to Chubb’s run six times in his postgame remarks to the media. This session wasn’t nearly as grim as the one on Blackout Night, when Saban greeted his biggest Alabama victory to date by grousing about how the Tide let Georgia back in it. (Bama won 41-30.) This time he said he was proud of his team. But that Chubb burst gnawed at him, which was surely why he kept mentioning it. Oh, and he did tweak his team for not doing a great job finishing this time, either. Which is why he’s Nick Saban, at worst the second-best coach in the sport.
3. As for Richt, he was as circumspect as ever. “They certainly whipped us pretty good,” he said. “We didn’t have many counterpunches for them. We got outcoached and outplayed.” It was clear from the start that Alabama had the more forceful linemen, but Richt did his team no favors by inserting Brice Ramsey, the backup quarterback who hadn’t thrown a pass in this game – he’d been sacked on the first half’s final snap – to open the second half. It was then 24-3. A touchdown drive there and this would have become a game. On the first snap, Ramsey’s pass was intercepted by safety Eddie Jackson, who sloshed 50 yards for the touchdown that made it 31-3. Not that Greyson Lambert was playing well – he wasn’t – but don’t you give the No. 1 quarterback one drive in the second half to see if he can turn a losing night into something better? (Given four series, Ramsey completed one pass to Georgia and two to Bama. Sure enough, Lambert was back by the third quarter’s end.)